I finally finished my breeding plan! To celebrate, I spend an hour in my truck talking about Advanced Reproductive Techniques (mostly AI) in small ruminants (but mostly goats.) And since I missed last week, this episode is a pretty long one… plus I can talk about breeding goats for quite a while, apparently!
This episode builds on what I talked about in the last episode about the hormonal influences of normal goat reproductive cycles and how we use that to build a better goat via ARTs (advanced reproductive techniques) including Artificial Insemination (AI), and a little bit about ET (Embryo Transfer), what are considerations for AI, why AI breeding is somewhat more challenging than live cover, and what my own process is for AI in my herd, and some other stuff thrown in there as well. (Click the cover art below to direct link to the episode)
As I mention in the episode, here are some visuals to help understand some of the concepts I discuss in the episode…
Ruminant cervices. These are some cross section visuals of what ruminant cervices look like to help understand why it’s easier to get a straw of semen into a cow than a goat or a sheep… A couple of these have dotted lines to demonstrate where you would be trying to feed your AI gun. As you can see, a cow is going to be way easier.
What is an AI gun anyway? Like I said, it looks nothing like a gun:
And here’s a video of a guy showing how to thaw a semen straw and load it onto the gun. He’s way more responsible with his PPE than I am (though I do tend to wear exam gloves when I do all this) and he loads his straw before sticking the sheath into the animal, but this is also for a cow, so it’s way more likely to get where he wants it to. As I mentioned in the episode, I tend to pass the sheath into the doe’s cervix, and then load the straw and gun into the sheath when I’m satisfied with the placement, rather than thawing a straw and possibly not wanting to use it….
Here’s an annotated graph of hormones in the doe’s reproductive cycle and my notes trying to explain why I AI when I do… (This graph is actually supposed to be for the cow, but I like it better and this gets the idea across.)